Last Chance to pre-purchase Disney Genie+ Service for the duration of your Walt Disney World® Theme Park Ticket.

These tickets hop away on June 7!

The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Express Pass at Universal Orlando

by Leap on April 29, 2022 1851 Orlando

Inside This Post Inside This Post

Summary

Thrills! Action! Transformers! Butterbeer! We always look forward to hopping down to Universal Orlando Resort. Between Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, we have plenty of places to play. One of the ways we experience more and wait in line less is with the Universal Express pass. Universal's skip-the-line access is a big help in the parks, especially on crowded days. But it isn't free — unless you stay on-site at select Universal hotels. Understanding how and when to use the Express pass at Universal Orlando is your key to a great visit. This post explains everything you need to know! And in some hopping good news ... we frogs are selling Universal Express passes at a discount!

Universal Orlando Express - Express Pass

What Is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express allows you to skip the lines at most Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure attractions and access priority seating at shows. (It is a separate purchase to include Universal's Volcano Bay.)

Universal offers Universal Express passes for most of the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides, including Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. The only rides that do not have Express access in either park are Jurassic World VelociCoasterHagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

In the past, some rides have used a Virtual Line, which may open back up during busy periods (the Virtual Line is used on an as-needed basis). If you have a Universal Express Pass, you generally do not have to get a Virtual Line pass for any ride but Hagrid's. However, during the busiest of times, an Express queue may reach capacity and a Virtual Line pass would be the only way to access a ride.

How Express Pass Works at Universal Orlando

Express Pass Universal Orlando - Scanning Express Pass at Ride Entrance

When you approach a ride with Universal Express, show your pass to the attendant. Some rides (mainly those with short, outdoor queues), such as Flight of the Hippogriff, will scan the pass right then and there as you arrive at the ride entrance.

For popular rides with more elaborate and longer queues, a team member will check the pass and let you enter the Express queue. Then, closer to the ride loading area (this distance varies by ride), a second team member will scan your pass, so hold on to your pass and keep it ready. Some Universal Express queues will eventually merge with a ride's standby queue, such as Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. On the flip side, other Express queues are entirely separated from a ride's standby queue, such as Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

One exception is Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon when its virtual queue is being utilized. During those times, you can pick up a return time or use the Express pass to enter the building immediately. The difference between the standby queue is that there is an outdoor portion of the queue before you enter the building. However, unless it's a busy park day, most standby guests will enter the building rather quickly, not giving much of a time-saving advantage.

Know that the Universal Express pass is not a group pass. Everyone in your party will need their own Universal Express pass. Also, the passes are non-transferrable. If you're staying at a Universal hotel that offers the free Express pass benefit, your hotel room key will act as the pass. Each person will have a personalized hotel key.

It's also important to note that for rides with metal detectors such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Jurassic World VelociCoaster, all of your belongings must be stowed away in a locker except for your Express Pass (which you'll need to get into the corresponding line). Make sure at least one frog in your party has pockets or a place on their clothing to store your passes. Lanyards with pouches can go through the metal detectors but must be tucked into your shirt prior to boarding the ride vehicle.

Universal Orlando Single Rider Lines

Universal Express Pass - VelociCoaster

Single Rider lines can be even faster than Universal Express pass lines. If you don't mind splitting up your party on the ride, you can experience some of the most popular rides much more quickly. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey's Single Rider line, in particular, is the best for saving time and is often faster than the Express queue. (It's also easy to miss. Keep your eyes up as soon as you enter the castle to spot the Single Rider sign. It's going to direct you to a staircase on your left.) The Single Rider lines go straight to the loading area, though the exact speed can depend on the flow of odd-numbered groups. You and your party will be together in the queue, but you will split up on the ride as you fill an empty seat.

Single Rider Lines at Universal Studios Florida:

Single Rider Lines at Universal's Islands of Adventure:

Keep in mind that some Universal Express and most Single Rider lines skip major portions of the queue. We get that the point of this whole thing is to spend less time waiting. However, some of the queues are spectacular and help set up the ride's storyline. For example, if it's your first time on Skull Island: Reign of Kong or Revenge of the Mummy, we recommend experiencing the regular queue (the Express lines skip major parts). If you've been there, done that, take the route that's best for you.

If you're a Harry Potter fan, good news. The Express queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey misses the outdoor greenhouse and smaller details inside. But the major parts of the castle, such as Dumbledore's Office and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, are not toadally out of view. For Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, the Express queue is essentially the same as the standby line, only moving faster. Both Single Rider lines still don't get the full experience as standby, however.

Universal Express Pass Options

Express Pass Universal Orlando - Back of the Pass

There are two types of Universal Express passes:

You can use the Universal Express Unlimited pass an unlimited number of times at participating rides and attractions each day that your pass is valid. You can use the Universal Express Standard pass one time per ride each day that your pass is valid.

Both types of Universal Express passes are available for one park per day or both parks per day. It can be purchased online ahead of time through us or Universal directly, or while you're at the parks. We like this flexibility. Sometimes you don't know you want an Express pass until you're already in the parks!

Universal offers separate passes for Universal's Volcano Bay. These are per day, and you have the option of skipping the virtual lines at select rides and attractions, or you can pay more with an Express Plus pass to skip the virtual lines at all rides and attractions inside the water park.

How Much Is Universal Express Pass?

Universal Express Pass - In-Park Kiosk

Ultimately, it depends.

If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's premier resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is included with your stay for every day of your visit. That includes your date of check-in and departure. The value of this cannot be underestimated, especially during busier times. Yes, hotels are priced based on expected crowds, but if you are already considering purchasing Express Pass, you should do the math and see if it makes sense to stay on-site. For larger groups of three or more, it is often still cheaper to stay on-site with Unlimited Express versus staying off-site and purchasing Unlimited Express separately. You get the added benefit of being so close to the parks when you stay on-site, plus access to all of the fabulous pools, plush rooms and other on-site amenities. If you are staying at a premier resort hotel and are planning on hitting the parks on your arrival day, no worries! The front desk can help you get your Express pass so you're ready to roll, while the Bell Desk safely stores your luggage.

Hotels with Universal Express Unlimited:

Universal Premier Hotels

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach ResortLoews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Aventura Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites do not offer Universal Express Unlimited, but they do offer Early Park Admission to select rides inside Universal's Volcano Bay water park and Universal's Islands of Adventure and/or Universal Studios Florida. Keep in mind that you still need regular admission to enter the park.

If you are not staying on-site and wish to purchase Universal Express passes, the cost varies by day and expected crowds. So during peak times, prices will be higher. You can purchase these online in advance at a discount from us or Universal directly or while you are in the parks. Keep in mind that Universal Express passes could sell out, but this is likely only during the very busiest times. Universal Express is separate from regular admission. It doesn't matter which tickets you have purchased ...  you can add on Universal Express as needed. If you aren't sure you will need or want the passes, we recommend you hold off purchasing until you arrive (though it will cost you more, as the price tends to increase as the date gets closer, leading up to the day of). Note that Universal Express is date-specific, so you will need to know what days you plan to be in the parks if you plan to buy the passes ahead of your visit.

When to Use Express Passes at Universal Orlando

Express Pass Universal Orlando - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Express Queue

Finally, we get to the most important part of the post — when to use Universal Express. Our recommendations are fairly simple.

Anytime it's free.

OK, it's never really FREE, free, but if you are staying on-site, you aren't paying for it directly. Even if the parks aren't super crowded, you will still save time by using Universal Express passes. And there is nothing better than skipping the regular line! If you're a regular, the Premier Passholder level grants you unlimited Universal Express access after 4 p.m.

When the parks are expected to be super busy.

When our Crowd Calendar predicts crowds of 8, 9 or 10, these are prime times to consider Express passes. You might even consider it on 7 if you are particularly crowd-averse. If you're visiting during the peak of summer or around the major holidays (especially the week between Christmas and New Year), you should give this serious consideration.

If you only have a day and want to see as much as possible.

Do you have a short trip (or only a day for Universal) and want to experience one or especially both parks? Then Universal Express passes are a good idea. If you are going during one of those super busy days, the pass is a must to get the most done during your time.

Is the Universal Express Pass Worth It?

Universal Express Pass - Hulk

No matter when you visit, having Universal Express will be a time-saver. How much time can depend on the ride and certain situations. If you do purchase an Express pass, avoid using it (especially if you have the standard, one-time-use pass) immediately after a ride reopens if it's been down. Many people will then get in line and inflate the wait time for both standby and Express queues. Just come back to the ride later in the day.

One time, we entered the Express line for The Incredible Hulk when standby said it was a 60-minute wait. We waited, rode the coaster and were back at our locker within 15 minutes! The same hoppened at Flight of the Hippogriff — it was a 45-minute standby wait, and we hopped on and off within 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, for Skull Island: Reign of Kong, we waited about 35 minutes in Express, when standby said 55 minutes by the time we got off the ride. With Express, we waited 30 minutes for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts when standby said 50 minutes. Even though these ones moved a bit slower, it's still time saved!

The big question is really how much you value the time you save. During less busy times, we think it's nice to have, but not a must-have. You may feel differently. It's all about what you value!

Are There Other Ways to Save Time in the Parks?

Universal Express Pass - Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Sunset

If you don't want to spring for Express passes, or they are just out of the budget, do not fret! There are still great ways to save time in the parks. If you follow us frogs often, you probably know these by heart.

Buy your tickets in advance.

You do not want to waste any of your precious time standing in line to buy tickets at the gate to start off your day. Plus you will save more money if you buy in advance.

Arrive at the parks ahead of the official opening time.

The gates often open even before their official opening time, so you can get a hop on your day. This is the least busy the parks will be all day, so it is the best time to visit the most popular rides such as Jurassic World VelociCoaster. If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's hotels, take advantage of Early Park Admission to the parks, especially Universal's Volcano Bay.

Follow a park plan.

We have several park plans for Universal that were created with families in mind. You can see them here or via our app (you can also tailor one of our preset plans to your own needs using the app).

Use the Single Rider lines. 

As mentioned above, the Single Riders line is often even faster than Universal Express. As long as you're fine with splitting up the group, Single Rider lines can be major time-savers.

Whew! We've covered a lot of ground here. Have questions about Universal Express Pass that we haven't answered? Share them in the comments below! 

Related: How to Navigate Single Rider Lines at Universal Orlando to Save Time

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
View Comments
<<  Newer Posts | Older Posts  >>
951–1000 of 1286 comments
Dec 11, 2018 at 3:49 a.m. Manuel Joseraj Says...

We are got our ticket to visit universal Dec 27th and 28th. Planning to get express pass in the gate. Is there a possibility of express pass getting sold out.

Thanks

Reply
Dec 11, 2018 at 10:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Manuel!

Yes, there is a chance of Express being sold out day of. We recommend either purchasing in advance or bright and early that day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Dec 4, 2018 at 12:05 a.m. Sheena Says...

I will be coming to the park on 12/30 and 12/31 (yes I know- busy time of year. I’m a teacher and can only travel on the busiest times) I read about your single rider line option. Do you think this will still be a good way to go on these dates? The express pass prices are jacked up very high for the days I’ll be visiting.

Reply
Dec 3, 2018 at 6:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sheena!

OMG, absolutely! When traveling alone, being able to use the single rider line is a huge benefit and time saver. We totally recommend!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 25, 2018 at 12:30 a.m. Deb Says...

Can we book our fast pass ahead of time like Disney, if so how?

Reply
Nov 26, 2018 at 2:44 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deb!

With Universal Express, you do not book times in advance like Disney ... so no worries!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 12, 2018 at 11:17 p.m. Deb Says...

Do we need to buy the swords for harry potter, can we bring our own and price please?

Reply
Nov 13, 2018 at 9:59 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Deb!

If you would like to participate in the interactive wand fun, you will need to purchase at least one wand for your family to share. It must be one of the special, interactive wands designed for the park - so we recommend purchasing there for a super fun experience. They run between $50-$60.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 6, 2018 at 2:42 p.m. Emily Says...

We are in WDW January 6-12. Our oldest LOVESEAT Harry Potter, so I am wanting to surprise him and my husband with tickets to Universal for one day (Jan 9). I know we need the passes for both parks, so they can ride the Hogwarts train, but if the primary focus is just HP stuff, do I need to splurge for the express tickets? Thanks so much! I am a Disney pro, but am totally lost about Universal!!

Reply
Nov 6, 2018 at 9:18 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Emily!

You're in luck! Our Crowd Calendar predicts Jan 9. to be a low-moderate day in terms of crowds. Since you already have to splurge on the park hopper to experience all of the Harry Potter fun, we don't think there's any need to upgrade to Express. You'll easily be able to experience all of the Harry Potter experiences in one day if that's your main focus.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 3, 2018 at 12:50 a.m. Matt Says...

We bought our universal tickets from you already for our visit next April (2 day park hopper with bonus 2 days). Looking at Crowd numbers now it looks like it's going to be busy, so we were interested in Express Passes. How do we buy these in advance? Or do we have to buy at the gate?

Reply
Nov 5, 2018 at 1:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Matt!

You can buy them in advance from the Universal site, or you have the option to add them on when you get to the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 23, 2018 at 4:41 p.m. Marcelo Says...

Hi Team!

I'm trying to buy Express Passes for January 2019 but the calendar for choosing this option ends in December 2018. Is there any way to buy it now? Or I have to wait to Universal open the calendar in their website?

Best Regards

Reply
Oct 25, 2018 at 6:36 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marcelo!

You'll just have to wait a bit for the rest of the calendar to open up :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 21, 2018 at 3:58 p.m. chris Says...

We have the unlimited express pass for a trip next week (10/23-10/25). I was told that if you use the express pass on the Harry Potter rides (escape from gringots and forbidden journey) then we'd miss a lot because the tours are built into the waiting lines. Is this true? Would you advise against using express passes for these rides (or any others)? Thanks!

Reply
Oct 24, 2018 at 9:26 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chris!

It just depends on your preference. These rides do have beautiful queues, but we'd always rather skip waiting!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 17, 2018 at 1:54 a.m. Diane Says...

We are planning a trip with 17 people for April 2019. We are not staying on property. We are planning on doing the express pass for two days in the park. How early can we purchase our tickets and express passes?

Thanks

Reply
Oct 17, 2018 at 8:54 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Diane!

You can go ahead and hop on our discounted tickets now :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:35 a.m. Mitchell Says...

Hello!

We are planning to visit for my girlfriend's 30th birthday Jan 14th to the 18th 2019. Do you think we need express passes? I was also wondering if you thought it would be warm enough to the water park/rides?

Reply
Oct 15, 2018 at 2:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mitchell!

Our Crowd Calendar says this is a GREAT time to visit. Express passes always help save time, but certainly won't be a necessity this week.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 11, 2018 at 8:46 p.m. Courtney Lee Says...

Thank you for your guidance!

My 4 and 7 year old boys love Marvel, Harry Potter, and Dinosaurs. We have one day (Friday, November 30th, 2018) at IOA. Is it worth it to do park-to-park to be able to ride the Hogwarts Express? Also to be able to do some Universal rides too, or would our day be plentiful with just IOA? I see 5/10 crowd rating that day, so I'm assuming an Express pass is not necessary? Thank you in advance for your time and advice.

Reply
Oct 12, 2018 at 10:29 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Courtney Lee!

Based on the interests of your boys, Islands of Adventure couldn't be a more PERFECT park. They're going to have a blast. Depending on their ages, IOA is likely more than enough to keep you busy for the day - but the Hogwarts Express is amazing, and Universal Studios Florida has some super fun rides too. It truly depends on your budget and how fast-paced of a day you want to have. Express Pass isn't necessary for the 5/10 crowd level, but could be helpful in accomplishing more.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 7:19 p.m. Christine Says...

Hi there,

I'm planning a trip for mid September 2019. I am only planning on getting a 1 day park to park pass since we have been to Universal before. Do you think we will have enough time to accomplish all of the rides in one day without express passes?

Thanks! :)

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Christine!

Even on the least crowded days, it's near impossible to accomplish EVERY ride in one day at BOTH parks without Express. If you only have one day, we recommend either splurging on Express or prioritizing your "must-do" rides first.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 7, 2018 at 12:16 a.m. Jen Says...

Do u have any suggestions of where to start when u are doing to express unlimited pass hitting up both parks for one day?

Reply
Oct 9, 2018 at 5:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jen!

We recommend starting at whatever park opens earlier, and finishing at whatever park is open latest to make the most of your time! Beyond that, make a list of your top priority rides and start there :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 7:58 p.m. Char Says...

Can you get you cover a lot of attractions during a 4 hour private party?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 5:03 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Char!

While we don't know how many people will be at your private party, we imagine you'll be able to accomplish a LOT in the parks! Have fun!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 3, 2018 at 3:26 a.m. YEN T NGO Says...

For the express pass, how many people can use for one pass?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 5:16 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Each person needs their own Express pass.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 2, 2018 at 7:45 p.m. Anna Says...

I recently got two Premier Annual Passes for my husband and me, we have Universal Express included with it (after 4 pm). My parents are coming to visit in a couple of weeks and I wanted to get multiday tickets for them too. Would my parents be able to use our passes to go through Express Lanes on rides instead of us? If so, do we have to be in the park with them, or will passes not work if not activated by the firngerscan?

Reply
Oct 4, 2018 at 4:57 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Anna!

The Express Pass is a physical paper ticket that technically can be shared between people (although not encouraged.) We have not tried this before, but we imagine you would have to "activate" your Express passes by entering the park.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 1, 2018 at 8:25 p.m. Sondra Says...

Can uber drop off and pick up?

Is valet parking $45 for the day?

How many come into the park early? (10/19)

Reply
Oct 1, 2018 at 9:45 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sondra!

Yes, you can Uber! We aren't sure how many people arrive early, but it always helps to beat the crowds!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 30, 2018 at 9:53 p.m. Tata Says...

Hi! We have tickets for Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights for Sunday, October 14th. Is it worth the money to buy Express Passes for HHN? It would be over $500 for 4 tix so I don’t want to put out that much money if the wait times are just moderate. I’ve seen conflicting crowd calendars.

Thanks!

Reply
Oct 2, 2018 at 12:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

Sundays aren't typically too busy, but crowds do pick up closer to Halloween. If you want to accomplish all ten houses that night, we definitely recommend Express. If you're cool with potentially missing a few, then it isn't worth splurging. Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 23, 2018 at 5:04 p.m. Heidi Says...

Hi

We are a family of six and are planning a trip to Universal Island of adventure on 31st of December. Do you recomenned a fast pass for that day and do you recomend to be there that day/night. Regards Heidi

Reply
Sep 25, 2018 at 11:27 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heidi!

We recommend checking out our Crowd Calendar for our best guess of how busy the parks will be each day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 19, 2018 at 10:21 p.m. Whitney Says...

Hi!

I am super excited to surprise my daughter for her 12th birthday with a trip to Universal in a couple of weeks (October 1st - 3rd). This is our first family vacation and we will be traveling with 5 (2 adults & 3 children). While doing my research I have discovered the child swap option for rides so we don't have to miss out/split up which I absolutely love! But I cant seem to find out if I will need to purchase express passes so that we get everything in in one day or if I should purchase 2-day passes...we are really trying to experience the Halloween Horror Nights as well... can someone please tell me if we will have to pay separate fees for the general park and HHN??? And could you give me a recommendation on the passes... express vs 2-day...THANX IN ADVANCE!

Reply
Sep 20, 2018 at 3:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Whitney!

Sounds like a blast! Our Crowd Calendar predicts mild crowds, so express passes are not a necessity. The choice between Express and two days is up to you! We like having as much park time as possible. Yes, you do need separate tickets for Halloween Horror Nights.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 8:10 p.m. Rachel Says...

We are planning to come April 29-May 3rd 2019. Do you think we need the Universal Pass? There are 5 in our family. Trying to decide if we need it- then to stay at a higher price hotel that includes it, or lesser hotel and pay separate. Thank you!

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 3:43 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rachel!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts moderate crowds, so Express is not a necessity. But IF you decide to splurge: Since you have a larger family, we think your best bet would be staying at one of the hotels that includes it for the days you'll be visiting the parks.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 6, 2018 at 7:51 a.m. STEVEN Says...

Hi...how is the week of Feb 12-16 been traditionally and looking for this coming 2019 as far as crowd goes. Thanks and LOVE this site!:)

Reply
Sep 6, 2018 at 3:07 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steven!

Crowd levels in the park vary a lot this week ... check out our Crowd Calendar for details :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 29, 2018 at 7:12 p.m. Pam Lacko Says...

If we check in the hotel early to get the Express Pass for that day, will we be able to leave our car there even though the room might not be ready until later?

Reply
Aug 31, 2018 at 3:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Pam!

Yes! You can leave your car and luggage at the hotel.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 26, 2018 at 7:43 p.m. Steve Says...

Hi,

Hoping for some guidance. We are due to travel to Orlando over easter 2019. Looking at the crowd calendar, it looks like the 2 universal parks do not look busy on 16/17 April, however I am conscious this may be based on last years information when Easter was earlier in the year. Is this thought process correct? If so, does this mean the reality for this date could be significantly different from the Crowd Calendar prediction?

Reason I ask is with 5 travelling express pass for 2 days looks likely to cost around $1,200, which on top of 2 day passes becomes expensive.

We have already booked our accommodation, but the other option is to book into one of the 3 onsite hotels that provide express pass for 1 night and hence have 2 days express pass - in reality does this work (i.e. can we arrive at 7am 16/4 and collect our room key and technically hand it back late in the day 17/4?

Your assistance appreciated Steve.

Reply
Aug 31, 2018 at 3:45 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve!

This week should not be too bad as far as crowds go since Easter is the following week. If you book one of the on-site hotels for the Express Pass, keep in mind that you would be paying for the additional hotel accommodation. You wouldn’t need to hand your room keys back in, but you would need to physically go to the hotel and check in to get your room keys, which also serve as your Express Pass. It might be worth it just to rebook at an on-site hotel for your entire stay.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 11:26 p.m. Lisa Says...

I am also trying to go to Univeral for a few days AFTER Easter - the 24/25. Easter week at Disney is CRAZY, I'm wondering why this is listed as yellow and not red? Do you think express passes are a necessity that week? Thanks!

Reply
Sep 17, 2018 at 11:55 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

Our Crowd Calendar is based on a variety of factors such as park events, school breaks, holidays, weather and more. We don't think Express passes are necessary for "yellow" days :) Hope this helps!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 1, 2018 at 11:33 a.m. Steve Says...

How long do US children have off for easter and do you know when they are off?

Reply
Sep 5, 2018 at 8:47 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Steve!

Children in the U.S. are typically off for one week before or after Easter Sunday. We take this into consideration on our Crowd Calendar.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 25, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. Heather Says...

We are thinking of going to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure the week of Thanksgiving (Sun, 11/18-Wed, 11/21). The crowd calendar rangers from 7-9 on those days. If we stay at the Hard Rock and have the Express Unlimited will we still deal with crazy lines or these passes average 10 min wait regardless of crowds? I'm sure the shops, restaurants, etc will be super crowded but I think we can handle that.

Reply
Aug 28, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Heather!

Holiday weeks are extra crowded, so it will be quite a bit busier than usual. This may lengthen your wait times a bit, but you'll still be savings TONS of time :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 20, 2018 at 8:57 p.m. Lindsay Says...

We are planta vacation Aug 13-20 2019 with five park daya and some days off to visit family in the area. With 5 days of park passes is express pass needed that time of year. Seems like it is the cuas of busy/not as busy times in the parks. We have considered an off site hotel with only a few days of express pass, an on site where we would get them included or some combination of the two. Thoughts?

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 11:51 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lindsay!

Our Crowd Calendar for August 2019 will drop in the next couple of weeks ... so keep an eye out! We imagine low-moderate crowds in late August of next year. Express Passes will not be necessary, but are always a plus. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 17, 2018 at 11:58 p.m. Universal. summer. 2019 Says...

Hi. The site is great. We are planning our first Universal trip for next summer. We are planning to stay in Orlando for 8 to 10 days and hope to go to Busch Gardens and Sea World as well as Universal. To save money we may book off site for most nights with one night at Royal Pacific. Will this plan give us 2 days of Express Pass at Universal? and can the Express Passes be used as early as 6 AM on the first day (check-in states 4 PM) until closing on the second day (even after checking-out at 11 AM)? Thanks.

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:38 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

You can use Express pass on both check-in and check-out days. You can go to the park as early as you wish on the day of check-in, but may have to leave your luggage at the hotel if your room isn't yet available. We LOVE staying on-site, and totally recommend it. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 17, 2018 at 8:17 p.m. Tony Says...

Hi, we're going to be there the last week of August. Do you think we would need them during this time?

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:13 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tony!

Our Crowd Calendar predicts it will be low-moderate for crowds. :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 12, 2018 at 5:25 p.m. Marie Says...

Hi If you go to Universal in the evening only(after 6pm) are you able to buy reduced price express passes for the remaining hours the parks are open or is the price still the same?

Reply
Aug 28, 2018 at 5:06 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Marie!

We haven't heard of any deals like this, but we'll check the next time we visit. In the meantime, we welcome the Frog Pond to chime in :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 12, 2018 at 2:54 a.m. Spinaun Says...

Hi!

We are a Family of four and we will be staying at new Aventura Hotel next February (second week (8 to 15) and we have 4 days P2P tickets... Do we necessarily need Express Passes for that time of the year? Should we buy them or not? because I understand that second week of February usually is not a busy time, and we have 4 days for the parks. Thank you!

Reply
Aug 14, 2018 at 11:23 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there!

With low-moderate crowds predicted, express passes should not be necessary during this time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 11, 2018 at 6:12 p.m. Lisa Says...

Hi , I have booked the hard rock for 1 night and would just like to know what time can you arrive to check in to recieve your room card to enable you for the express

Reply
Aug 22, 2018 at 12:22 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Lisa!

You can check in as early as you like the day of your stay and get the room keys that will serve as your Universal Express. You would have to store your luggage at the hotel if your room is not yet available.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Aug 8, 2018 at 8:44 p.m. Mary Ward Says...

Do you sell the Universal Express passes? If not can I buy the regular 2 day park to park tickets through Undercover tourist and then buy the express pass at Universal? Will they work together?

Reply
Aug 9, 2018 at 10:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary,

We do not offer Universal Express passes to Universal Orlando, but you can definitely purchase regular admission tickets through us and then purchase a Universal Express Pass at Universal! They will work together.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Aug 7, 2018 at 2:37 a.m. Joshua Davis Says...

Does everyone in your group need to be at check-in to get the express passes at Royal Pacific?

Reply
Aug 7, 2018 at 4:01 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Joshua,

No, they do not. But they must be listed on the reservation!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 10:50 p.m. Kristy Says...

If staying at Lowes Royal Pacific where you get the express unlimited is that valid from the open of the park on your check in day or not until check in at 4pm? Just wondering if your room key is your pass then how does it work before 4pm check in to do the park that first day?

Reply
Aug 1, 2018 at 9 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kristy!

It is covered days of check-in and check-out. You would have to check into the hotel first to get the key, but your room likely would not be available until later. The resorts have a place to store your luggage until your room is ready so you can hop into the parks!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 6:07 p.m. Eleonora Says...

Hi there,

Thank you for the useful info! I'm writing from Italy and I'd like to know if the same info also apply to Universal Studios Hollywood. I have another question for you: since I don't know which day we'll be able to visit the park, do you think we can buy Universal Express Passes only a couple of days in advance or they might not be available (we are 2 families of 4) toward the end of August?

Many thanks!!

Eleonora

Reply
Jul 24, 2018 at 3:41 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Eleonora,

Hop over to our post on Universal Express at Universal Studios Hollywood for more information! We think you'll be all right to wait to buy them a couple of days before your trip.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jul 14, 2018 at 11:47 p.m. Cuau Says...

First things first: THANK YOU. This site is amazing.

I am planning a 4 day vacation at Orlando in August 13-17

I bought Express Pass at Universal because I will be there only 1 day and want to visit both Harry Potter parks, but I picked August 16 :(, which is 6, but only USF has red alert for that day, August 15 has "green check" in your crowded calendar for USD and UIA, do you recommend me to change the date? (I don't know if it's possible) or should I wait until the day is close and check again? Does crowd calendar change? I want to avoid lines as much as possible.

Reply
Jul 17, 2018 at 6:26 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Cuau!

As long as you have your Express Pass, you should be in the clear! This will minimize wait time in line as much as possible. With a 6/10 Crowd Calendar estimate, the parks shouldn't be too incredibly busy. Don't worry ... you're in for an awesome day!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 2, 2018 at 8:49 p.m. Chad Jarvis Says...

Hi there...thank you SO much for this! I know Disney, but am a newbie for all things Universal. So, quick question on the Express Pass provided by staying at Loews Royal Pacific Resort...is it also good at Volcano Bay? Or must that be a separate purchase?

Reply
Jul 3, 2018 at 12:58 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Chad,

The complimentary Universal Express Passes are only good for Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 2:17 p.m. John Tithof Says...

Using Loews Ryan pacific at universal during peak times is the best deal, and hotel is nice.

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 1:28 a.m. Claudia Says...

Love ❤️

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 1:24 a.m. Jerri Says...

can not wait to visit.

Reply
Jun 19, 2018 at 4:04 p.m. Beth Ann Says...

What a great article!!! I can’t wait to go back in the near future. ????

Reply
Jun 17, 2018 at 12:53 p.m. Mark Says...

Hello,

We will be attending both parks on June 26th and June 27th and plan on getting the express pass. Do you know if active duty personal with Military ID get a discount when buying the fast pass? I couldn't find anything online and the base office does not sell fast passes.

Thank you.

Reply
Jun 20, 2018 at 7:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mark!

Unfortunately, there aren't any discounts offered on express passes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 15, 2018 at 9:23 p.m. Ashley G Says...

If I am buying base park tickets, can we still ride the Harry Potter rides in the park we are in each day? I know we can’t ride Hogwarts Express, but can we still ride the HP rides?

Reply
Jun 19, 2018 at 12:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ashley!

Yes - as long as you are visiting both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, you'll be able to explore Diagon Alley AND Hogsmeade. The only attraction you will not be able to experience is the Hogwarts Express.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 9, 2018 at 7:49 p.m. Ani Says...

I am going to universal studios for 3 days and booked a room at the Lowes Royal Pacifc resort that offers express passes. My husband and I booked the room but at the time my son could not go, but now he can. The room has 2 queen beds so no issue there, but will I be able to get him the express pass since I originally booked the room for two people instead of three?

Reply
Jun 12, 2018 at 1:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ani,

You'll just need to add your son to the hotel reservation and he'll be able to receive an Express Pass!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jun 7, 2018 at 8:03 p.m. Daniela Says...

Hi,

I`m quoting your words:

"If you are staying on-site at one of Universal's premier and preferred resort hotels, Universal Express Unlimited is free for every day of your visit. That includes your date of check-in and departure."

Does it mean that if I am staying only one night at the on-site hotel, let's say 28~29/6, i can use the express unlimited pass for 2 both days, 28th and 29th?

Reply
Jun 7, 2018 at 3:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Daniela,

Yes, that is correct!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 29, 2018 at 9:16 p.m. Renee Says...

I have 4 days, park2park tickets for 7/22-7/25, meaning I could spend 2days at Universal & 2days at Island of Adv. Do I really need express passes? Or is 2 days per park enough? We are a family of 4 (12yr,9yr, hubby and me). Xpress passes for those dates are $150 ea. Which would be $600 xtra per day or $2,400 for those 4 days. Way out of my budget. Any thoughts? Suggestions? Someone suggested renting a room (they r at $360x night currently) from one of the resorts (we are staying with family) but they suggested just renting the room to get the xpress pass only.

Reply
Jun 1, 2018 at 6:02 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Renee!

Staying on-site at one of the hotels that offer Express Passes is worth exploring, although you probably already have your lodging set. You don’t have to have Express Passes — lots of people will not. Just follow our best practices, arrive at the parks ahead of opening, use our iPhone app with wait times and park plans etc. It will be crowded, but you can still have a great time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 29, 2018 at 5:26 p.m. Jai Says...

Hello, I, my wife and 7yr old daughter are visiting Orlando end of June. My question is: At Universal IOA, I am planning to get express passes for me and my daughter. My wife is not much of a ride person so I wont be buying an express pass for her. However, if there is some ride she would like to do, can she utilize my Express pass instead of me?

Thanks in anticipation!

Reply
May 29, 2018 at 3:17 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jai,

Universal Express passes are non-transferrable; only one pass can be used by one individual. We suggest utilizing the single rider queue if there's a ride she wants to experience! This line is usually much shorter (and often just as short as the Universal Express line) than the standby queue.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 1, 2018 at 12:34 a.m. TB Says...

So we plan to go to both Universal and Island of Adventure during a weekend in May. My question is if we purchase the tickets through this site do we have to go on universals website and add on express passes or can we purchase them through this site as well?

Reply
May 1, 2018 at 2:44 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi there,

We aren't able to yet offer Universal Express Passes, so you'll need to add them on through Universal's site (or purchase them at the parks)!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dec 21, 2018 at 7:03 p.m. Stacey Says...

Hello,

Where can I buy fast passes in the park if it get busy there in January when we go?

Reply
Dec 27, 2018 at 2:18 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Stacey,

They are sold at guest services and a handful of other locations around the parks!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 27, 2018 at 2:16 p.m. Brittany Says...

Hello.. I am planning a Disney vacation for the first week of June for my husband and me. We are planning on spending 1 day at IOA, and are wanting Express Passes. We are worried about weather, so thought about waiting to buy the pass once we get to the park, in case the exact day we go changes. Would you recommend buying early, or wait until we get to the park?

Reply
May 3, 2018 at 10:28 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Brittany,

If you are worried about weather and unsure of the passes, then we'd recommend waiting until you're at the parks to purchase!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Apr 25, 2018 at 6:56 p.m. Sue Says...

My daughter and I are squeezing in a 4 day whirlwind trip to Disney with 1 of those days at Universal. Staying at Disney and planning to Uber to Universal. My question relates to cutting down on the distance we need to walk to get to Universal Studios in the morning. My thought was to take an Uber to the closest hotel (Hard Rock?) and walk from there, rather than going to the Uber drop off area and through the parking deck. I recently had joint surgery and I'd rather not log a half mile walking before I even enter the park if at all possible. Suggestions? Thanks so much!

Reply
Apr 26, 2018 at 10:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sue!

We invite the Frog Pond to chime in, as we haven't done this before - but we think this sounds like a great plan! We just recommend finding the closest hotel and calling to make sure they allow Uber drop-off ahead of time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Leave a comment
Name is required. Email is required. Please input a comment.
About Us
About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.

Sign up for our newsletter!
Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address
Back to top